You might notice by the list of writings in the drop down menu that I love Asia and the Middle East. Everything I’ve written ties to these topics. On this introductory page, I will introduce you to the pieces and what drove me to write them. I hope you enjoy reading.
“Japanese Carp”: This memoir came out of a failed capstone project in college. I read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s memoir Wait Till Next Year for a sports history class spurring me to talk my advisor into allowing me to write a historical memoir instead of a traditional research paper for my capstone. At the time I failed miserably. It stayed somewhere in the back of my head, though. When I was mature enough to try again, I recreated it, submitted it then won an Honorable Mention for it in the Writer’s Digest annual writing competition. I’ll be forever grateful to that professor for letting me fail so I could succeed later.
“Double Facebook Profile: Egyptian Women Online”: I took a feature writing workshop at the Bethesda, MD Writing Center. The workshop leader encouraged me to do this piece and helped me stretch my writing beyond what I had done before. The interesting part of the story is about the woman I interviewed. We had been friends for several years so when I asked her if I could write a piece about her, she was willing. I don’t think she had any idea that I was a real writer and even though I told her it would be published, I don’t think she realized what I meant. Not only did it get published but other websites stole it and published it on their own sites across the globe. My friend was livid. I had asked for permission, though. She is alright. We are still friends.
“From Siamese Prison to Mormon Memory”: A woman I met at the Mormon History Association conference recommended me to The Juvenile Instructor website to write this piece. I was very grateful to her and honored to get to write about their theme, international Mormonism. This piece probably helped me the most. I had been researching the topic of Elam Luddington and his mission to Siam for quite some time but this piece really helped me to solidify my ideas by forcing me to convince people why they should read about him. I really enjoyed putting it together.
“The Broken History”: Jared Allebest, a friend of mine, asked me to write a piece for his blog for which I was very grateful. I wanted to work within the themes that he was writing about so I decided to focus on disability. I also work in the disability field myself when I am not writing and thought it would be a neat challenge to look at the research on Elam Luddington through that lens. It completely changed the way I read Luddington’s writings. I sent the piece to a friend with a disability before I submitted it to Jared. She didn’t like the title “broken” history. She, like most people with disabilities want to be seen as people first and not as less than others. Luddington’s arm was broken which propels the argument so I left it believing that we are all broken in some way.
“Baggage on the Hooghly: Race, Asia, and the Mormons”: Max Mueller approached me to write an article on race for the Journal of Mormon History’s special race edition coming out in 2015. I spent a month and a half on the article and read multiple books to beef out my understanding of race for this article. My biggest challenge is that all my research really has been centered on the Elam Luddington story so that is the base with which I am working. He gave me a chance to rewrite but what he wanted was way beyond the scope of my narrow focus. He therefore, turned this paper down. It did force my discipline to understanding the dynamics of the Mormon missionaries landing in Calcutta/Kolkata in 1853 and has been invaluable for me in writing the book. I really like the piece. It may not have fit into the vision of the JMH for that edition, but this piece takes into account some of the most current ideas on race in Asia.
“Mormon Man Creates Controversy”: By Common Consent approached me to write an article for their website. I had a lot of fun putting this together. It’s all completely true. I actually heard from most of the people I write about after it was published.